As the CEO of Volume Nine, I decided to take some time to articulate what the heck it is we are doing and why we are genuinely excited about Volume Nine and the direction we are headed more than we ever have been.
For those of you who aren’t going to read this whole thing:
- We created a new type of agency model. So far, the team has loved it, we’ve driven amazing results for clients, and it’s a totally different way to approach digital marketing services.
- This change has taken a lot of work and team effort. I detailed some of this below.
- We’ve relaunched our website to stake our claim and announce what the heck we are doing. #confetti
- Check out the 2-minute video at the end of the story if you have time.
For those of you that actually will read this whole thing:
Being in this industry for a decade (wow, it feels weird for me to say that!), I have noticed a few standard agency types that seem to emerge. Please note, I’m massively over-simplifying this to make a point.
Type 1: Package Providers
These are larger agencies that tend to focus on specific niches or specific channels.
- Pros: Easier to scale, bring costs down, allows you to deliver value in specific channels.
- Cons: Not truly custom, not ideal for clients who can’t implement your packages, harder to retain top talent to work on client accounts as running a set package isn’t particularly fulfilling for most digital marketers long term.
Type 2: Freelancers
Some guy or gal who is pretty good at this stuff who might even have a set team of freelancers they utilize to provide services.
- Pros: Generally less expensive, your strategist (the gal or guy in charge) stays consistent, a lot more customizable.
- Cons: Locked into their small freelancer network (e.g. if you don’t love their web designer you are basically stuck). This is also risky if your freelancer decides they want to have a full-time job again.
Type 3: Hourly Contracts
Some larger agency has added digital marketing to a long list of capabilities and bills hourly for their services.
- Pros: More customized solutions, tons of customer service, lots of experience.
- Cons: Generally less effective per dollar — you are paying for a lot of overhead and getting more entry-level team members doing the actual work. This is mostly because of how their models work. This model is also what has spurned so much debate in the last few years about why the agency model is dying.
About two years ago, Chuck and I were meeting and, to be honest, we were a bit run-down. We had explored, considered, and tested all of the agency models listed above, and we weren’t thrilled with any of them. They didn’t feel right for our clients and they didn’t feel right for our team.
We started whiteboarding all of this out and, by the end of the meeting, we wondered if it was possible to create a new type of agency. It seemed to work in theory but for those of you who run businesses, you know that working in theory vs. working in practice are very different things.
We then started on a journey, not 100% sure of our destination. Luckily, we have an amazing group of team members who have stood with us through the years and agreed to take this challenge on with us.
Since that meeting, a few things have happened:
- We started removing any systems and processes from the organization that hindered our goal of achieving client results.
- We launched a qualitative research project to get input from in-house marketers about the challenges they are facing today.
- We started outlining the innovation our teams wanted to test on behalf of clients. In effect, we went from offering SEO, social, and content to doing whatever made sense to help clients achieve their KPIs. We’ve now helped clients run events, put guest books in stores, create videos, establish influencer campaigns, broker media buys, rock conferences, pitch the media, and tons more.
- We switched the domain from V9SEO.com to V9Digital.com when we got far enough along to realize we didn’t want to be tied to a specific channel anymore.
- We launched a pilot program to test this out with some of our accounts, with one team leading the charge.
- We revamped our office space and work styles to be more about collaboration and less about the process.
- We leaned further than we ever have into team learning and training.
- We revamped our messaging, website, service offerings, sales process, and hiring process to match our new trajectory.
Volume Nine Today
Volume Nine is a full-funnel, multi-channel digital marketing agency. We believe our clients have a difference to make in the world and we help them leverage digital marketing to make that difference. We specialize in helping companies build their online brand, drive traffic, and create loyal customers.
We have established the tenants of the customer experience that make working with Volume Nine special:
- We know our craft and are ready to tap in as your go-to expert.
- We make it work, regardless of challenges or roadblocks.
- We share your passion and we’re excited to grow your brand alongside you.
- We plug into your team and we adjust to your team, processes, and communication styles, not the other way around.
- We treat you like family and we will take amazing care of you and your marketing dollars.
Our new agency model allows us to leverage small teams of top-notch Digital Marketing Strategists and, if needed, a large network of high-end partners to deliver totally custom digital marketing programs to clients at great price points, allowing us to deliver amazing value.
A Minute for Gratitude
Credit, thanks, and appreciation go to:
- Our Clients – Thanks for sticking with us all these years and for letting us test innovation with you. Also, thank you for allowing us the privilege to operate more like an extension of your marketing team than just a vendor.
- V9ers – This has been a long journey for all of us and you have my gratitude for helping us achieve this vision. This was 100% a team effort.
- Our Partners – I know how strange some of those calls have been where we stopped talking about SEO audits and started talking about full-funnel strategies and content architecture. Thanks for continuing to believe in us and trusting us to help take great care of your clients alongside you.
- Our Extended V9 Network – I know it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride as we figured this all out, but we’ve loved partnering with you to bring essentially unlimited services to our clients when needed.
Oh yeah, the whole point of this was to let you know we re-launched the website today to try and capture all this. So… now you know 🙂